Nawaz, Modi exchange greetings at Kazakhstan summit

NEW DELHI: The Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India have met for the first time in 17 months, at a summit in Kazakhstan, officials said, despite renewed tensions over Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi shook hands and exchanged greetings late Thursday at the opening of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Astana.

Sharif and Modi last met on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit in December 2015 before Modi surprised the world with an impromptu visit to Pakistan the same month.

An Indian foreign ministry official said that as it was the first contact between the leaders since Sharif underwent surgery, Modi enquired about the Pakistani leader´s health.

“He also enquired about Sharif´s mother and his family”, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Following Modi´s visit to Pakistan, relations quickly deteriorated after an attack on Indian airbase in Pathankot in January 2016 killing six Indian soldiers.

New Delhi suspended peace talks accusing the rival government of continuing to “sponsor terrorism”, a charge Pakistan denies.

There have also been renewed tensions in the Indian-occupied Kashmir territory. Militants killed 19 Indian soldiers in a raid on a military camp in September 2016.

In response, India launched strikes inside Pakistan, targeting accused militant havens.

Indian and Pakistani troops regularly trade fire on the Kashmir frontline, while the governments are also in a legal tussle over the death sentence imposed in Pakistan against an Indian accused of spying.

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